Want a great launch? Set up key metrics

This course it packed with important stuff. At first glance, it may seem long, but keep reading and you will learn how to measure the pants off of your product or startup launch. We'll introduce you to your new best friend, Data, and show you how to open the gates to the World of Understanding. What's not to like?

Are you prepared to go to market?

We're sure you have spent hours and hours designing (and redesigning) a product so great, people will never know what hit them. Or what their lives were like before your product. It's ready to take over the world.

But did you prep it for the market?

According to people smarter than us (the good folks at The Harvard Business Review), the number one reasons why product launches fail is lack of preparation.

But if your product is as ready as it will ever be, what more is there to prepare? Haven’t you already done enough?

Not quite.

People need to know that your product exists. And they need to know exactly why they should buy it. 

In our Academy course Building a kick-ass pre-launch strategy, there’s a full guide on how to prepare your audience (and yourself) for the game-changer you're about to bring to market.

When you're done reading, you'll know

  1. Why data will sucker-punch you and still be your best friend
  2. How to choose the right metrics
  3. How to track the most common metrics for your launch and beyond

Want to hear a boring word with a great meaning? 🤓

Here goes... Metrics.

Are you bored yet? Hang on for a minute!

Did we just touch all the right spots on your data-craving body? Keep reading!

You need to get ready to measure what happens after you push the button. Is anyone reacting? How are they liking your product? Is your strategy working? What can you do better?

Can you feel it? The curiosity is approaching uncontrollable levels. And if you don’t set up metrics, you’ll never know.

As always, we got you. This course is dedicated entirely to setting up the key metrics for your launch.

Why you should measure your launch (and everything else)

Setting up key metrics for your launch drastically improves your chances of success.

With the right metrics, you can systematically track your performance and then act accordingly. If you want to up the chances of success with your launch, you need a crystal clear picture of what is going on.

Full disclosure. When you set up metrics you will see things that upset you. You are setting yourself up for a data-sucker-punch right where it hurts.

Because data doesn’t lie. Here’s the good part, though. When you measure, you have the upper hand. And those things that aren’t working - you can fix them. So as soon as you come to terms with your new, brutally honest friend, we promise you’ll love her.

Alright, that’s enough data appreciation for one course.

Let’s get down to business. There are probably a million things you could measure. So how do you choose which metrics are key to your launch?

Keep reading and we’ll take you through the best ones.

What you should measure

What you should measure depends on your strategy and business model.
Where do you want to go in the long run, and what do you need to achieve right now to make that happen?

So before you choose what to measure, go back to your business model and your plan for the future. Every business model, every product and every launch is different. So naturally, metrics will be different too.

There are some though, that make sense to pretty much all product launches. In this next part we’ll take you through them one by one.

Keeping track of your launch campaign

Leads

To get customers, you need leads. As soon someone gives you their contact information, they become customer prospects. So you want as many of them as possible.

You can collect leads from lots of places. People may sign up for your newsletter, download a piece of content, request a demo or sign up for a trial.

What to do with them is a different topic - for a different course. For now make sure you know which channels your leads will come from and that you have all the necessary analytic tools set up.

Channel activity

A lot of your leads will come from promotion channels like email marketing and online advertising. So it’s important to watch how people interact with you on these.

Track the opening rates on emails to find out if you’re actually catching people’s attention.
You also want to set up a metric for click through rates in both emails and online ads. Clicks show interest and turn people into leads.

Last but by no means least, make sure the money spent on these channels corresponds with the leads you get. In other words, keep track of the cost per lead and make sure it’s acceptable.

The number that matters here is the ROI. The price of a lead should be lower than what you pay to get it. From there you can work on getting the price down.

Website traffic

To get leads, you need to drive people to the right channels. To make sure that your promotion efforts are working the way they should, set up metrics for incoming traffic on your website, landing pages and whatever else you have.

Measuring traffic gives you a sense of which channels work in your favor and which are a waste of your time and money. Oh, and it gives you a lovely sense of the level of interest around your product. Now all you have to do is turn them into leads.

PR

It’s all about the angle. At least that’s what our journalist friends always tell us. And who are we to question that? Getting press coverage takes a lot of work, and a lot of startups choose to push it off for a while. But getting your story out can also be really valuable. And there are a lot of (niche) media out there, who just might like what you’re trying to do. Again, it’s all in the angle.

If you decide to go for it, you’ll want to know how wide the story spreads (quantity) and how high the quality is.

How are people engaging with your product?

Product trials

Do your customers get a free trial?

That's great, Mr. Deep Pockets. People like free stuff. And we love trials ourselves. Make sure to keep an eye on how many actually sign up for a trial. Those people will be much more likely to stick around and become paying customers once their free time is up.

How many stay and how many leave also gives you a sense of how people are liking your product. If people tend to leave during or after their trial, chances are something isn’t working the way you wanted it to. Make sure you attend to that.

Conversions

Up until now we’ve talked and talked about all the potential customers you can get your hands on. Now it’s time for the real deal. You want your leads to convert into (paying) customers. If they don’t, your business is in trouble. That’s why conversion rate is one of the most important things to measure.

What rate you should aim for varies depending on industry, product, price and customer type, just to name a few. You can look for some industry specific numbers to benchmark up against. But remember, you’re just getting started. You won’t hit those numbers right away. So for now just make sure you know your own conversion rate and keep an eye out for any changes in that.

Usage

How many people actually use your product (and keep using it)?
For SaaS companies in particular, there can be a rather large pile of users, who sign up and maybe even pay for your product, but never use it. Now, if you weren’t as smart as we know you are, you might just let them be and focus on your active users.

But you know that’s a bad strategy. Because inactive users means something about your product or strategy could use an improvement. And the more active users you have, the better the chance that they’ll stick around. So keep track of how many people actually continuously use your product.

Churn and retention

Getting a new customer costs up to five times as much as keeping an existing one. We’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Like everything else, it varies. But it’s fair to say that it is worth it to focus on keeping customers around. So you should measure churn (how many leave) and retention (how many stay).

This number will indicate how much revenue you can expect to generate from each customer (the customer lifetime value, CLTV), how much you need to spend on marketing vs. customer success, service and so on. The lower the churn rate, the higher the retention rate - the better!

How are you impacting the market?

Revenue

Aah, revenue.. If that word doesn’t get you out of bed in the morning, we don’t know what will.
It is probably something you’ve already set goals for, since it is one of the numbers that will define your startup’s success. So you want that bad boy to keep growing, right?

For these early stages, revenue first and foremost indicates if people like your product. Because if they don’t, their money will stay put in their deep, warm pockets. So make sure to keep both eyes on your revenue at all times.

Market share

Unless you're already like Google, or something, you will have to fight for your market share.

Are you Google?

Okay, then let’s prepare you for battle.

You want to challenge the market’s status quo. Especially if you plan to take over the world, like we talked about in the beginning of this harangue.

When you know your revenue, you can calculate your market share. Just divide your sales revenue in a specific time period by the market’s total sales revenue in that same period - and there you have it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy 🍋

How to make the angels sing

Feedback

I think we’ve established by now that data is king. Do it right and you’ll have aha-moments lined up in front of you.

But do you know what’s even better than a great aha? If that moment is accompanied by a choir of angels singing as the great gates to the World of Understanding open. That’s what you get, if you combine all your metrics with some honest, human feedback.

Think we’re exaggerating? Well, we’re not.

Feedback lets you dive deeper into your data and understand more about what the numbers are trying to tell you. While data is great, it doesn’t speak people-language.  Asking people, both your customers and your team, will help you understand exactly what you need to change to improve your product and your strategy. And it will show you what you’re already doing so well, people want you to do it even more.